Edition for 11 April 2020

Top Stories

Should we spend billions on clean energy? It worked during the last crisis (LA Times)

  • Today they are a small part of a thriving U.S. solar industry that supports an estimated 250,000 jobs and has helped reduce planet-warming emissions.
  • A decade later, as the country enters a pandemic-driven economic downturn that could rival or exceed the Great Recession, the Recovery Act provides a template for how lawmakers might drive further growth in clean energy — particularly nascent industries such as energy storage or electric vehicles.
  • In crafting the Obama-era stimulus, “we looked at initiatives that could in the short term put people back to work, but simultaneously would build for the long term, particularly in the context of energy, improving health and communities,” said Carol Browner, who served as Obama’s top energy and climate advisor and today is board chair of the League of Conservation Voters.

Why Hong Kong’s climate change efforts fall short (Hong Kong Free Press)

  • With no strategy for long term de-carbonisation, a powerful energy lobby with an appetite for fossil fuels and Chinese nuclear power, and a government more concerned with protecting corporate interests than the future of the planet, Hong Kong’s efforts to battle the climate change emergency have faltered.
  • This approach contrasts starkly with the lethargy and collective over decarbonising the city to combat that other global threat to livelihood and health: climate change.
  • There is currently no strategy for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Nature Is Bouncing Back During the Coronavirus Crisis—but for How Long? (Mother Jones)

  • In China, the world’s biggest source of carbon, emissions were down about 18 percent between early February and mid-March—a cut of 250 million tons, equivalent to more than half the UK’s annual output.
  • Even assuming a bounce back once the lockdown is lifted, the planet is expected to see its first fall in global emissions since the 2008-9 financial crisis.

Africa: As Africa Looks for Clean Power, Nuclear Interest Grows (AllAfrica News)

  • As a growing number of African states consider adopting nuclear power, renewables experts say it's not the cheapest, fastest or safest way to provide much-needed energy access.
  • Faced with power shortfalls, demands for greener energy and drought threats to hydropower, a growing range of African nations are considering a shift to an unexpected power source - nuclear energy.
  • But countries from Egypt to Ghana are pushing ahead with nuclear plans, arguing such power is low-carbon and can provide a reliable baseline of energy to complement renewables such as solar and wind.
  • Nuclear is "clean and sustainable", Prince Akor Larbi, a technician with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the Accra meeting in March.

Could a reborn cruise industry be a better environmental steward? (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Carnival was fined $US40 million, the largest fine for environmental crimes in United States history, and placed on a period of probation.
  • To critics of the cruise industry it was more evidence of a poor environmental track record, one that has led some to argue that should cruise lines be revived after the coronavirus pandemic, it should only be under strict new environmental regulations.
  • According to a 2009 study on the environmental impact of cruise ships by Dr Ross Klein, a sociologist from the University of Newfoundland, on the average cruise ship, 401g of CO2 - a leading cause of global warming - is emitted per passenger per kilometre.

Chile Signals Urgency of Climate Action with Updated NDC (NRDC)

  • Chile formally submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) yesterday, making it one of the first countries in the world and, to date, the only one in Latin America to submit an updated climate action commitment as required by the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Equally as important, by releasing its updated NDC now—amidst a global health crisis and lingering social demands at home—Chile has sent an important message to the global community that underscores the urgency of addressing the climate challenge.
  • But she noted that the NDC was in fact very relevant since climate change also threatens people and requires a joint and urgent response with concrete actions.

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